4 Warning signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

More than 6 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease, a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior. Another alarming statistic, between 2000 and 2019, the number of deaths from Alzheimer’s disease as recorded on death certificates has more than doubled, increasing 145.2%, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. More recently, the nonprofit organization has reported that Alzheimer’s and dementia deaths have risen 16% in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. These increased rates of diagnosis and mortality are reasons for the public to become more aware of the numerous, potential warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease, documented by the Alzheimer’s Association. 

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life

The Alzheimer’s Association explains that an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease is often the identification of disruptive memory loss. This can include information that was recently learned, peoples’ names, appointment times and more. Memory loss that disrupts daily life can also constitute repeating the same information over and over again or asking a question and repeatedly forgetting the answer. Oftentimes, those with early signs of Alzheimer’s disease will remember this information at a later time or start to leave themselves frequent reminder notes because they anticipate forgetting the details.

2. Difficulty planning or problem-solving

Those living with undiagnosed Alzheimer’s disease have been known to exhibit challenges when attempting to follow a plan. They may also struggle when working with numbers, such as when they are paying their monthly bills. For example, people with this type of dementia may begin to notice that they have been making financial errors when paying bills or that they forgot to submit a payment on time. While they may write these instances off as mere errors or mistakes, a continuation of these occurrences can be an indication of Alzheimer’s disease.

3. Unable to track down missing items

Someone with undiagnosed Alzheimer’s disease may begin to either put things in unusual places or lose items. When an item is lost, they will not be able to track the item down by retracing their steps or thinking back to the last time they were in possession of the item. As the disease progresses, these individuals may become defensive when questioned about their ability to remember where certain items are located. It is not uncommon for someone to misplace something once in a while. However, when losing items becomes more common, that is when someone may need to make others aware of the issue or seek medical advice from a professional.

4. Changes in mood and personality

A commonality among individuals with undiagnosed Alzheimer’s disease that can serve as a warning sign is apparent changes in mood or personality. This type of dementia can bring about feelings of anxiety, confusion, suspicion and fear. For these reasons, conversations that  normally flow may become difficult for the individual to hold. When something is misplaced or forgotten, this person may become extremely irritated, upset or depressed. If these characteristics become evident in individuals who had not previously presented such behaviors, loved ones, friends, family, co-workers or others who know the person should consider the possibility that this could be a warning sign of Alzheimer’s.

Other Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease 


3 Reasons to Hire a Caregiver to Assist with Home Care

Caregivers can help care for aging adults and seniors in a number of ways, from assistance with eating, sleeping or mobility to more comprehensive health and wellness needs. While family members often choose to become the caregiver of their loved one, hiring a thoroughly trained caregiver can make a vast difference in the quality of home care they receive. This is because professional caregivers are provided with continuous training on new and emerging technology, safety procedures and care specialties to ensure optimal safety and support. For those with aging loved ones, here are three additional reasons to consider hiring a home care caregiver.

1. Family Dynamics Change

Although many family members may be on the same page about the level of care an elderly loved one requires, others may not be. Furthermore, their feelings on their specific care needs and requirements may change. Family relationships often experience strain at one point or another, and pent up issues may resurface when caregiver questions arise and arguments ensue.

Affirming this notion, the Family Caregiver Alliance states, “Providing care for an aging or ill parent can bring out the best and the worst in sibling relationships. Ideally, the experience of caregiving is a time for siblings to come together and provide mutual support to one another. However, as a stressful transition, the pressure can also lead to strained connections and painful conflict.”

For these reasons, families find hiring a caregiver who is not a direct family member helpful. Without predetermined ideas or opinions, a caregiver can help families make unbiased decisions on what is truly best for the loved one in need of home care. Knowing that a loved one’s best interest is the priority can provide family members with security and peace of mind. This also assists in ensuring that the loved one’s state and current needs are frequently assessed by a home care professional with experience regarding the signs and symptoms associated with aging.

2. Family Caregiving Burnout

As family caregivers are not typically provided with the same training as a professional caregiver, they do not always know what to expect when caring for a loved one long term. Not all designated family caregivers have any medical experience at all, so knowing the ins and outs of providing home care may present an added challenge. Between learning how to best provide home care and actually engaging in care-related duties, these family members can become rapidly overwhelmed and burnt out.

Alternatively, a trained professional has the skills to provide quality care as needed. When a caregiver is employed to care for an individual, their job is to support the client in need of care. For many family members turned caregivers, they need to find a way to balance their existing jobs and responsibilities with the added duties that come with becoming a caregiver.

Caregivers are prepared with the knowledge and skills to cope with the many responsibilities and management associated with home care. Hiring a professional caregiver is a way to make sure that all home care needs are being met, without a family member becoming spread too thin subsequently neglecting elements of their existing lives.

3. Home Care is a Learned Skill

Just because an aging adult is a member of someone’s family does not mean a family member is best suited to become their caregiver. Home care services require a level of skill that is learned and must be acquired through proper education and instruction. Caregivers must have a basic knowledge of health care terms, medical conditions, prescription administration and emergency response procedures. Under certain circumstances, tough decisions need to be made, for which having experienced this home care learning curve is incredibly important.

One instance in which extensive home care knowledge is imperative arises when addressing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The onset of memory loss requires a caregiver who is well aware of the challenges that are commonly associated with these conditions. Learning how to care for someone experiencing memory loss can keep a trained caregiver from being surprised by certain situations they may encounter. Professional caregivers have the ability to provide clients the support that is currently required while keeping family members up to date and planning for their future home care needs.

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